june 9/RUN

3.1 miles
trestle turn around
72 degrees
humidity: 56%/ dew point: 59

Warm, but low humidity. Sunny, green, calm, relaxed. Encountered many bikers and walkers but was able to keep a good distance from all of them. Couldn’t get close enough to the river to see it but did hear the coxswain calmly directing the rowers, her voice amplified by a bullhorn. I wish I could have seen the rowers and the sparkling water. How many rowers were in the shell? Can you properly social distance in those things?

note: was planning to write about how sad it is that open swim is starting today and I won’t be doing it and how frustrated and confused I am by how so many other people seem to think we don’t need to social distance or be careful anymore, but I decided to leave it out. Still, I wanted to make note of it and how it casts a shadow over this time and my log entry today.

Didn’t recite “voiceover” as I ran today…it’s probably time to move onto another poem. Because of the heat and humidity and how difficult that makes it to think about anything but how hot and humid it is, I’m wondering if I should adjust my poem list and memorize some that are short and rhythmic. Yes. I think I’ll memorize some more Emily Dickinson. When I didn’t feel motivated to recite “voiceover” today, I recited “It’s all I have to bring today” instead. I love Emily Dickinson. And I love this poem about possibility, especially after reading the prowling Bee’s analysis!

I dwell in Possibility – (466)/ EMILY DICKINSON

I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –

Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –

Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –

This poem fits with my theme of inner and outer–it, along with Smith’s “Threshold” and Dove’s “Voiceover” feature doors.

Smith: “passing through doorway after doorway after doorway” and “but any open space may be a threshold, an arch, of entering and leaving.”
Dove: “We walk back and forth without a twitch…with only the occasional stubbed toe…The keyhole sees nothing”

Door as a way in, way out, to pass through, to close, to open, to protect, to retreat, to keep private, a barrier, a limit.

june 8/RUN

2 miles
36th st to 32nd st to 38th st to 36th st
75 degrees
humidity: 76%/ dew point: 67!

It’s going to be a hot one today. 96? 97? Already now, before 9, it’s over 80 degrees. Decided to do a short run this morning before I have to retreat to the air conditioning this afternoon. Not too bad, considering the dew point is 67. That’s way up there on the misery index. Heard lots of birds, a sprinkler, some bike wheels. No geese or Daily Walkers or roller skiers or music or chainsaws cutting down trees. No sirens or rushing car wheels. No rowers on the river or voices rising up from the gorge. Lately I’ve been noticing cotton from the cottonwood trees flying around. Is the floodplain forest white with it yet? Will I be able to get down there to see?

At the end of my run, about 2 minutes after I stopped, I recorded myself reciting “Voiceover.” Thought about the title and how voiceover can refer to the voice of an unseen narrator speaking and the voice of a visible character expressing unspoken thoughts. So it can be a voice outside oneself narrating the scene, or a voice inside oneself revealing inner thoughts.

note from 15 December 2020: Currently I’m reviewing these entries for my end of the year post and reviewing Voiceover to remember it. I’m struck by how my description of voiceover fits with Rita Dove’s lines: “You can be inside a house and still feel/ the rooms you’re not in … but you can’t hold onto the sensation/ of being both inside the walls/ and outside looking at them/ at the same time.”

voiceover/rita dove (june 8)

Feeling frustration over how everything is opening back up–even the beaches at the lake–and disappointment that so many people seem to have given up on trying to be prevent the spread of COVID-19. I’m seeing too many pictures of people getting together without social distancing. I don’t understand. Maybe most people are being careful and I’m only seeing/hearing about the ones who aren’t? Whatever the case, I’m not letting up on keeping my distance from people.

Minneapolis City Council voted to dismantle the Minneapolis Police yesterday (with a veto-proof 9 votes)! Very exciting. Here’s a few things I read/watched that are related to what’s happening:



It’s not just that police are ineffective: in many communities, they’re actively harmful. The history of policing is a history of violence against the marginalized– American police departments were originally created to dominate and criminalize communities of color and poor white workers, a job they continue doing to this day. The list has grown even longer: LGBTQ folks, disabled people, activists– so many of us are attacked by cops on a daily basis.

And it’s bigger than just police brutality; it’s about how the prison industrial complex, the drug war, immigration law, and the web of policy, law, and culture that forms our criminal justice system has destroyed millions of lives, and torn apart families. Cops don’t prevent crime; they cause it, through the ongoing, violent disruption of our communities.

It’s also worth noting that most social service agencies and organizations that could serve as alternatives to the police are underfunded, scrambling for grant money to stay alive while being forced to interact with officers who often make their jobs even harder. In 2016, the Minneapolis Police Department received $165 million in city funding alone. Imagine what that kind of money could do to keep our communities safe if it was reinvested.

from MPD150 Frequently Asked Questions


Daniel Bergin, documentary filmmaker for Twin Cities PBS: This paradox goes to the very founding of the state: the colonization and the displacement of Dakota and Ojibwe, which is its own complex and deep and insidious story. But in terms of the African-American experience, even after the territorial period, there was this tension around abolitionist culture from the New Englanders who had largely made up Minneapolis at the time, and the businessmen who were seated in St. Paul.

from Revealing the Divisive History of Minneapolis

june 7/RUN

3.75 miles
river road, north/river road, south
65 degrees
humidity: 72%

Started the run by myself but at the halfway point I encountered Scott and decided to run with him the rest of the way. Sunny. Windy, feeling warmer than 65. Remember hearing at least one woodpecker, a lone goose up high honking, “wait for me!” or “where is everybody?” Caught a quick glance of the river before having to move to the road to avoid an approaching walker. Forgot to look at the trestle–no trains above. More than once I thought the fast, whirring wheels of a bike were an approaching car.

reciting while running

Before meeting up with Scott, I recited Rita Dove’s poem a few times. Almost memorized it enough to dig into the meaning of the words. Today I liked the line “If you think about it,/everything’s inside something else;/everything’s an envelope/inside a package/in a case—/and pain knows its way into every crevice.” Need to think some more about what that means. Also liked, “There are spaces for living/and spaces for forgetting.”

A few minutes after returning home, recited the poem into my phone. I need to work on the line about standing outside of your skin–I said body.

voiceover/rita dove (june 7)

A few hours later, sitting in red lounge chair in the shade of the crabapple tree, I thought some more about Dove’s poem and the lines about everything being inside something else. Wrote in my plague notebook #3: There is no ultimate outside of everything. No pure objectivity, free of pain or perspective. No access to the Big, complete picture.

june 6/RUN

3.5 miles
47th st loop, short
67 degrees
clouds: cumulus (I think?)

What a beautiful morning for a run! Some sun, some clouds. Coolish air, a breeze. Soft, calm green everywhere. Lots of birds. Not too many runners or bikers. After the frightening, end-of-the-world feelings last week, it’s nice to have a few relaxed, almost normal moments. Ran down past turkey hollow but forgot to look for any turkeys. Didn’t get close enough to the river to see whether it was blue or gray or silver or brown. On the stretch somewhere between 38th and 42nd, heard a dog’s chain clanging below on the Winchell trail. I’ve heard a chain clanging like this on all 3 of my most recent runs–is it at the same spot? is it the same dog? am I just imagining it?

reciting while running

Last week, I memorized Maggie Smith’s “Threshold.” This week I discovered Rita Dove’s “Voiceover” and decided I should postpone memorizing water poems and do a series on inside and outside and traveling in-between them with “Voiceover” as the second poem. So far, I’ve memorized the first half. I recited it in my head a few times as I ran. It’s harder to hang onto the words and think about them during my run as it gets warmer and more humid outside. Haven’t noticed the rhythm in the poem yet. Here are some things I’m noting about the poem today:

  • vast is a great word
  • love the image of smoke coming off the ice on a thawing lake
  • like this idea of being inside a house and still feeling the rooms you’re not in and how feeling them is not the same as observing/seeing them–I want to think more about the limits of vision (as opposed to other senses) in enabling us to be both inside and outside at once
  • I’ve never heard the phrase, “popping a beer.” I get what it means–popping the tab of a beer can–but I’ve never heard it used this way
  • the keyhole sees nothing + stubbing your toe as you move back and forth–a connection to Smith’s threshold!

About 30 minutes after I returned from my run, I recorded the first part of the poem into my phone. I mostly have it memorized, with a few mistakes. I can’t believe I forgot the second sentence, “try it.”

Voiceover/rita dove, pt 1 (june 6)

abolishing the police

It is a unsettling, sad, exciting, and hopeful time in Minneapolis (and around the country) as people who have never–or maybe just barely–questioned the validity of the current police state are thinking deeply about what it might mean to get rid of the police and reimagine how communities/cities might look out for/care and keep each other safe. Intellectuals and activists have been doing this thinking, theorizing, planning work for decades, so there are tons of resources, like this reading list: Reading Towards Abolition: A Reading List on Policing, Rebellion, and the Criminalization of Blackness

june 5/RUN

3.1 miles
2.5 mile loop + extra
62 degrees
humidity: 83%, clouds: none

Sun! Not much wind! Not too many people! A beautiful almost summer morning for a run. Saw my shadow several times. Hello again, friend. Thought I heard some birds–a woodpecker, cardinals, at least one black-capped chickadee. A kid called out to an adult, “look at the runner!” Recited a few lines from Love Song of the Square Root of Negative One and more lines from What Would Root. Steered clear of approaching garbage trucks and bikes. Got a quick glimpse of sparkle–a river sliver. Ran on the river road over clumps of dirt, grass, dead leaves. Yesterday when I ran over the same debris it was dry and made an agreeable crunch and sounded like shredded paper used to cushion objects in a package.

Things here in Minneapolis seem to be settling down–the immediate threat of more violence and destruction could be over, at least for now. Time to return to panic over the pandemic and the inevitable massive spike in cases in the next few weeks. I hope I’m wrong. Such messy feelings about all of this–excitement over the possibility of real change, unwavering belief in the value of people over property, support for many of the extreme actions taken to disrupt normal life and force us to pay attention, fear over the effects of all these public gatherings on the virus, confusion over how/why people seem to be ignoring/forgetting the serious, long term threat of COVID-19. I’m having trouble reconciling my strong belief that these protests/gatherings to collectively share grief and rage were necessary with my equally strong belief that we must socially distance and/or be as careful as we are able to stop the spread of COVID-19. Instead of trying to reconcile these right now, I’ll dwell in the discomfort they create for a while.

Yesterday I posted a Rita Dove poem from the latest issue of POETRY magazine. Today, I’ll post her other poem from that same issue. I love Rita Dove.

Voiceover/ Rita Dove

Impossible to keep a landscape in your head.
Try it: all you’ll get is pieces—the sun
emerging from behind the mountain ridge,
smoke coming off the ice on a thawing lake.
It’s as if our heads can’t contain
anything that vast: it just leaks out.

You can be inside a house and still feel
the rooms you’re not in—kitchen below
and attic above, bedroom down the hall—
but you can’t hold onto the sensation
of being both inside the walls
and outside looking at them
at the same time.

Where do we go with that?
Where does that lead us?

There are spaces for living
and spaces for forgetting.
Sometimes they’re the same.
We walk back and forth without a twitch,
popping a beer, gabbing on the phone,
with only the occasional stubbed toe.

The keyhole sees nothing.
Has it always been blind?

It’s like a dream where a voice whispers,
Open your mouth and you do,
but it’s not your mouth anymore
because now you’re all throat,
a tunnel skewered by air.
So you rewind; and this time
when you open wide, you’re standing
outside your skin, looking down
at the damage, leaning in close …
about to dive back into your body
and then you wake up.

Someone once said: There are no answers,
just interesting questions.
(Which way down? asked the dove,
dropping the olive branch.)

If you think about it,
everything’s inside something else;
everything’s an envelope
inside a package in a case—

and pain knows a way into every crevice.

I want to spend some more time with this poem, thinking about the idea of inside and outside/inner and outer and how we can’t be both at the same time. And, what do I do with that last line?–“pain knows a way into every crevice.” Wow. I’d also like to put it beside a poem by Maria Howe that I discovered last year.

The Affliction/ Maria Howe

When I walked across a room I saw myself walking

as if I were someone else,

when I picked up a fork, when I pulled off a dress,

as if I were in a movie.

                                    It’s what I thought you saw when you looked at me.

So when I looked at you, I didn’t see you

I saw the me I thought you saw, as if I were someone else.

I called that outside—watching. Well I didn’t call it anything

when it happened all the time.

But one morning after I stopped the pills—standing in the kitchen

for one second I was inside looking out.

Then I popped back outside. And saw myself looking.

Would it happen again? It did, a few days later.

My friend Wendy was pulling on her winter coat, standing by the kitchen door

and suddenly I was inside and I saw her.

I looked out from my own eyes

and I saw: her eyes: blue gray    transparent

and inside them: Wendy herself!

Then I was outside again,

and Wendy was saying, Bye-bye, see you soon,

as if Nothing Had Happened.

She hadn’t noticed. She hadn’t known that I’d Been There

for Maybe 40 Seconds,

and that then I was Gone.

She hadn’t noticed that I Hadn’t Been There for Months,

years, the entire time she’d known me.

I needn’t have been embarrassed to have been there for those seconds;

she had not Noticed The Difference.

This happened on and off for weeks,

and then I was looking at my old friend John:

: suddenly I was in: and I saw him,

and he: (and this was almost unbearable)

he saw me see him,

and I saw him see me.

He said something like, You’re going to be ok now,

or, It’s been difficult hasn’t it,

but what he said mattered only a little.

We met—in our mutual gaze—in between

a third place I’d not yet been.

june 4/RUN

3 miles
47th st loop variation (return north on 43rd ave)
67 degrees

Another quiet night last night. No cars or explosions or sirens. Today is the George Floyd memorial service in Minneapolis. Last night the Minneapolis Parks Board unanimously voted to stop using the Minneapolis Police Department. Wow–the U of M, Minneapolis Public Schools and now the parks department. Momentum.

Ran with Scott this morning. Already feeling warm and green. Didn’t notice as many bugs today. Also, not too many people. Definitely more bikers than runners. Saw 2 turkeys crossing the road, heading to turkey hollow. As we ran we talked about what it might look like to reimagine or eliminate the police, and then about our very limited and disappointing experiences with the police in the past. (Such privilege in our lack of experience with the police).

Random memory: Last summer–or was it the summer before last?–we had just arrived home from a trip. For the brief minute we were away from the car, bringing our bags in through the backyard to the house, someone broke into our garage, stole an old iPod from the car, the garage remote, some tools/pump from my bike, and a few other things. It never crossed my mind to call the police. Instead, we talked to several of our neighbors and we all kept a closer eye on the alley for the next few weeks. I can imagine safe/r communities without the police.

Almost forgot: at some point, while we were running on the river road, I looked up at the clouds and remembered Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s suggestion to learn all the cloud types. I can’t remember what today’s clouds looked like. Maybe I should try to describe the clouds in each log entry? Here’s a cloud identifier, in case I’m having trouble figuring it out.

Since memorizing Rita Dove’s “Ode to My Right Knee” last month, I have realized that I love her writing. Here’s a great one that was just published in the June issue of Poetry magazine:

Mirror/ Rita Dove

take this
my blasted gaze,
astonishment. Resolve
memory & rebuild; shame’ll
under powder pressed into
my skin.

Oh, avalanche, my harbor:
can I
over you;
pit & pustule, crease & blotch
without seeing
you through you—
if all I am
(Am I all?)
is Woe is

this take
gaze blasted, my
resolve, astonishment.
Shame’ll rebuild & memory
into pressed powder under
skin, my

harbor, my avalanche. Oh
I can
you over;
blotch & crease, pustule & pit—
seeing without
you, through you.
Am I all if
all I am
is Woe is

I love the form of this poem! I want to experiment with it soon. So creative and fun and powerful.

june 3/RUN

3 miles
river road, south/42nd st, west/43rd ave, north/edmund, north/34th st, west
65 degrees
humidity: 90%

Back in Minneapolis. Ran around the neighborhood with Scott this morning. We were gone for a few days and when we came back it was summer. Even more green. Buggy. Overgrown. Last night was quiet. Haven’t heard about any fires or explosions or mayhem. Everything looks peaceful today. Running on the river road, there was no view of the river, only green trees and haze. Surprisingly, I handled the humidity and sun better than I have in the past.

I forgot that yesterday was my 9th anniversary of running. Even if I had known, I don’t think I would have run. By the time we got home to Minneapolis, it was over 90 degrees. I’ll take today as my celebration. 3 relatively easy miles, running with Scott through a neighborhood of resilient people working to create a better city.

I haven’t been thinking about poetry for about a week now. Too overwhelmed with all that’s happened. I want to return to it now. Here’s a poem I’d like to spend some more time with. (Listen to a brief discussion about the poem + Brimhall reading it here.)


I must be the heavy globe
of hydrangea, always bowing
by summer’s end. Must be salt,
like sadness at a burning city,
an ethical disobedience. I must be
a violet thorn of fire. These days
I don’t taste good, but I must
be singing and boneless, a lily.
I must beg for it, eyes flashing
silver as a fish. Must be a rosary
of listening. This is how I know
to love. I must hide under desks
when the forecast reads: leaves red
as meat, sleeping lions, chandelier
of bone, moon smooth as a worry
stone. I must want my life and fear
the thin justice of grass. Clouds
hunt, wound the rising tide. I must
be paradised. On my knees again.

june 1/RUN

3.7 miles
running, with lots of walking
austin, mn
83 degrees

Ran with Scott on his 9 year anniversary of running. Mine is tomorrow (I’m writing this a few days late; it was too hot to run on my anniversary date). To commemorate the day, we included the 1/2 mile stretch he had to run in high school. He hated doing it because he was out of shape and couldn’t run that far, and all the jocks in the class were assholes. Hot and sunny, but we did it. So much has happened since we started running 9 years ago. Wow.